Author(s): Yaffe MJ, Tazkarji B
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To discuss what constitutes elder abuse, why family physicians should be aware of it, what signs and symptoms might suggest mistreatment of older adults, how the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index might help in identification of abuse, and what options exist for responding to suspicions of abuse. SOURCES OF INFORMATION: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Social Work Abstracts were searched for publications in English or French, from 1970 to 2011, using the terms elder abuse, elder neglect, elder mistreatment, seniors, older adults, violence, identification, detection tools, and signs and symptoms. Relevant publications were reviewed. MAIN MESSAGE: Elder abuse is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults. While family physicians are well placed to identify mistreatment of seniors, their actual rates of reporting abuse are lower than those in other professions. This might be improved by an understanding of the range of acts that constitute elder abuse and what signs and symptoms seen in the office might suggest abuse. Detection might be enhanced by use of a short validated tool, such as the Elder Abuse Suspicion Index. CONCLUSION: Family physicians can play a larger role in identifying possible elder abuse. Once suspicion of abuse is raised, most communities have social service or law enforcement providers available to do additional assessments and interventions.
This article was published in Can Fam Physician
and referenced in Global Journal of Nursing & Forensic Studies